Andrea Lee: Bringing new blood to JHS

Camri Anderson, Staff Writer

At the beginning of the school year, Jacksonville High School had a change in administration. Mike McGiles, who had the previous role as principal, moved on to Central Office and Andrea Lee swooped in. As a graduate from MacMurray College, Lee is no stranger to the Jacksonville area. Lee started as a nursing major but changed to teaching after getting a job at PORTA as a varsity volleyball coach. She explains, “I actually started my college career in nursing, but I was playing volleyball in college and could not commit to the program. It wasn’t until I was given the opportunity as the varsity volleyball coach at PORTA that I considered education. I decided that the coaching was much like teaching and I enjoyed it.”

After graduating from MacMurray, Lee has definitely had her fair share of experience before coming to JHS. Before receiving her position at Litchfield, she was a K-5 technology teacher at Petersburg as well as a 3rd and 5th grade teacher in the same district. Later, she became a 4th and 5th grade teacher in Chatham. She has also been a professor at Blackburn College and the University of Illinois Springfield.

Lee is very excited, yet a little nervous, about transferring to a new and bigger district. “It was a choice that I made carefully. I had to search myself and where I was at in my career. Having been in a smaller district before, I have had many experiences with high school age students so I was not scared. I was a high school volleyball coach and currently have a junior and senior in high school, yet there were a few moments of butterflies for sure!”   

Lee also elaborates that the biggest change has been the difference in size between the two schools. “Jacksonville is a much larger district. The population of the high school is almost the size of the entire Litchfield School District. Also, not knowing everyone as closely as I did before is a change.” Even though the school and the district is larger than Litchfield, she explains that the people here have been the best part. “Everyone has been so welcoming and helpful. This includes staff, community members, and some of the students.”

When it comes to the age difference in the students, Lee says, “There is a big difference in the age groups, but you are all still kids! You are just at a different stage in your life and the needs are different.”

As for her new position at JHS, Lee is looking forward to making JHS a better learning environment. “I look forward to figuring out how to keep JHS moving forward. How to make it a place that everyone wants to be each and every day. To make it an experience for students that they have fond memories of, not just a place they spent time.” Lee made sure her high school experience was filled with fond memories. “I was a volleyball and softball player. I also played the clarinet in pep and concert band and was a flag and rifle girl in the marching band. Also, I was involved in the musicals, FHA, and swing choir.”

Lee and the administrative team have some exciting things they are working on and bringing back to JHS. “There are some things I would like to accomplish. Working with my administrative team and the teachers, I would like to evaluate our advisory period and also our level system. We also want to stay focused on preparing college and career ready individuals!” Lee wants all the students to know that she is a team player. “I am truly a team player and try to keep a positive outlook in life. Kids can count on me to be fair, but firm, and someone they can count on.”

Mrs. Lee has been such a great addition to Jacksonville High School, and we cannot wait to see what she and the new administrative staff have in store for us this year and the years to come.